Thursday, April 01, 2004

T&T: No more pottage

If Libya, which for years had been viewed as a pariah, for reasons which had been well documented, should be able to achieve this why should Trinidad and Tobago not long ago have insisted that any exploiting of its natural gas should be on the basis of a not dissimilar “long term strategic partnership” with a State energy company. Domestic and international banks, I am certain, would be interested in approving loan funding to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to meet investment requirements. In turn, the country’s gas would form part of the equity of such a project.

I say this because Libya was not going to allow any energy company to exploit that country’s patrimony in return for the Biblical “mess of pottage” (Genesis 25: 29-34). And Trinidad and Tobago must trump and follow suit. Understandably, the risks are there, but with the returns clearly identified, the country would do well to understand that, like Libya, it can move to the big league, where it rightly belongs. And people were wondering why Libya was prepared to pay out billions of dollars in costs for the Lockerbie disaster! Libya’s share in the joint enterprise would be formidable. And simply because its President, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, would have appreciated Shell’s anxiety to be part of the explosion of international interest in natural gas.

Trinidadians and Tobagonians should not be surprised if the Libyan Government’s share is in the order of either 51-49 or 50-50! And there are still more contracts to be signed by Libya with other undoubtedly very, very anxious international companies. It is time that we stop telling ourselves that only international companies can exploit our resources. Good heavens, all technology is up for sale. Above all, we must stop thinking as old fashioned colonials.
Good thoughtful piece. Read the rest.

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